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Davao in ‘hold and secure’ status

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DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has placed the entire city under ‘hold and secured’ status moments after the dreaded Maute group attacked and wreaked havoc in Marawi City.

Initially, the Mayor announced a lockdown during a 1 a.m. press conference just before Sara’s father President Duterte announced a Martial Law in the entire Mindanao region.

Sara said that the military and police checkpoints will be more thorough in checking vehicles coming into the city via main entry points here.

According to the mayor, the city remains a vital area for the Maute group, which has ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The presidential daughter called for a press briefing 1 a.m. at the city’s Public Safety and Security Command Center.

She said security forces will be cordoning off the threat from both inside and outside the city through a “lockdown,” but will not prevent travel.

There are at least five Maute group members being held at the Davao City jail for the Night Market blast along Roxas Ave. last year.

Authorities here, meanwhile, are awaiting the guidelines from Malacañang Palace.

Davao City Police Office director Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum, speaking to reporters immediately after a security meeting with the Mayor, assured there would be measures to protect citizens from human rights abuses.

He added that the city’s police force have been instructed to conduct round the clock checkpoints in strategic areas where frequent travel is conducted to and from areas such as Cotabato, Agusan, Bukidnon, and other areas.

Coastal areas are also being monitored, while the Task Force Davao has also been reinforced by police and more military units.

“All our actions will be for the welfare of our people particularly Davao City residents,” Tagum said.

Asked whether the police may respond to instances of human rights abuse, Tagum said he would “take full responsibility” if any of his personnel are found to be abusing their police power.

He said people should call the city’s police hotlines, 0916-6592576 and 0925-8233267, to report any abuse. “Somebody will answer you,” said Tagum. (YAS D. OCAMPO)